Petroleum Engineers

Petroleum engineers apply the principles of geology, physics, and the engineering sciences to the recovery, development, and processing of petroleum. As soon as an exploration team has located an area that could contain oil or gas, petroleum engineers begin their work, which includes determining the best location for drilling new wells, as well as the economic feasibility of developing them. They are also involved in operating oil and gas facilities, monitoring and forecasting reservoir performance, and using enhanced oil recovery techniques that extend the life of wells. There are approximately 34,910 petroleum engineers employed in the United States.

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Quick Facts
Alternate Title(s) Drilling Engineers, Oil-Field Equipment Test Engineers, Oil-Well Equipment and Services Sales Engineers, Oil-Well Equipment Research Engineers, Reservoir Engineers
Duties Design and develop methods for extracting oil from deposits below the earth’s surface; find new ways to extract oil and gas from older wells
Salary Range $50,000 to $100,000+
Work Environment Indoors/Outdoors
Best Geographical Location(s) Opportunities available nationwide with high demand in Texas, Oklahoma, California, Colorado, and Louisiana
Minimum Education Level
  • Bachelor's Degree
School Subjects
  • Earth Science
  • Mathematics
  • Physics
Experience Internship or co-op
Personality Traits
  • Problem-Solving
  • Realistic
  • Scientific
  • Computer
  • Math
  • Scientific
Certification or Licensing Required
Special Requirements None
Employment Prospects Good
Advancement Prospects Excellent
Outlook Much Faster than the Average
Career Ladder
  • Senior Petroleum Engineer
  • Petroleum Engineer
  • Petroleum Engineer Trainee
  • Intern

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